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And When I Look Upon Your Face I Would That We Were In Some Place Where You Could Be My Pet - Flash Fiction by Kenneth Nolan

During the mid-sixties, I lived in a little town called Snarfleburg in southern Tennessee. I found a job there labouring in the Apple Mines. Snarfleburg was a backwater town at that time, and few people recognised me. It was custom and law in the town for every citizen to be ultra-polite and encouraging to their fellow man. Town folk would always greet me with abundant jolliness, and perhaps say something like: ‘I hope every step you take today Sir, will be a step towards justice and righteousness’, or—‘May your sperm be praiseworthy and impregnate the air we breathe’. Me, being of a slightly reserved, conservative nature would usually just acquiesce with a ‘Hello’.

The town charter stated the following: ‘All citizens must be polite at all times, regardless of current mood, personal circumstance, or given situation’. This law was enforced rigorously by local police on the orders of the mayor, Kim Jong Boyd Barrett.

This suited me, as I needed to lay low until the heat cleared from an unfortunate political matter I had become entangled in. In fact; Snarfleburg was the only town in America in which I was still welcome, after some hippies accused me of sending a whole generation to a pointless death by causing a debacle which later became known as ‘The Vietnam War’.

I didn’t, honestly, but you know ‘The Yanks’, they can be so sensitive.

Anyway, the graft in the Apple Mines was a little too hard so I decided to jack up! I resolved to follow my heart, thus forming ‘A Barbershop Quartet’ with two of my buddies, ‘Burt Dirty Tooth Taylor’ and ‘The Fragile Squirrel’. Dirty Tooth gave up a steady job as the town ‘Dispute Mediator’ to come on board.

We toured all the taverns and show-halls in Snarfleburg, soon building a loyal following. We performed all the classics including: ‘Sweet Luasline’, and ‘Donkey Donkey Lay Down Your Ears’, and ‘Don’t Go Aborting My Love-Seed—From Your Heart’, and my own personal favourite: ‘Meet Me In The Carpark Sweetcheeks—But Don’t Tell Your Papa’.

These were great times. The lifestyle we enjoyed was outrageous. Groupies came to follow us from all over America, and I had sex with every single one of them. This fact later came back to haunt me, when I was accused of being the root-cause of ‘The AIDS Epidemic’ which took hold in America in the early-eighties. That slur has never been substantiated.

In the end, the Showbiz life became unsustainable, mainly because we never earned any money, no matter how many gigs we played. We disbanded and went our separate ways. Dirty Tooth went back to his job in Dispute Mediation, and the Fragile Squirrel set up an organization called Greenpeace. I moved home to Ireland and enjoyed a successful career in the banking sector up until my retirement in 2008. Years later it occurred to me that you need four people to form a ‘Barbershop Quartet’ and that’s probably why our group was unsuccessful.

Kenneth Nolan is a Writer from Tallaght, who now lives in Blanchardstown. He is the founder of 2 regular literary events in Dublin, ‘Dreaming without sleep’ which is held in Dublin Castle and ‘The Merg Sessions’ held in Tallaght. He holds Higher Diplomas in Creative Writing and Cultural Studies. In 2012 he won first prize for poetry in the ‘CDVEC Sports & Cultural Awards’.

He has been shortlisted twice for the ‘Jonathan Swift Award’ and his work has been published in Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, Tallaght Soundings, Brilliant Flash Fiction-Online, Headspace Magazine, The Echo Newspapers, Ink Splinters Anthology, Phoenix Ink Anthology, Creative Talents Unleashed, Flare, Live Encounters Magazine. He has appeared as ‘Featured Writer’ on Dublin South FM ‘Rhyme & Reason’ show and Near FM ‘Writers Block’. His radio play ‘The Twang Man’ has been broadcast on Dublin South FM.

You can learn more about Kenneth’s work online at the following:





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